#Edchat Connects the Education Community to the Four C’s

Students in the 21st century are now being gauged by an updated set of skills often referred to as the four C’s: collaboration, communication, creativity and critical thinking. If students are expected to function and succeed in this new paradigm, it seems that educators may have to as well — and many are. Most recently, progressive educators are pursuing the four C’s through many collaborative and communicative online resources such as Twitter and Twitter chats such as #Edchat.

What is #Edchat?

Founded in 2009 by Shelly Terrell, Tom Whitby and Steven Anderson, #Edchat is a weekly organized Twitter discussion that focuses on educators and the latest education topics. #Edchat is for anyone who works in the field or is interested in education, and participants use the #Edchat hashtag as a conversation thread. The Twitter chat takes place every Tuesday from 12 to 1 p.m. and 7 to 8 p.m. EST. For more information on #Edchat, check out the Essential #Edchat Resource Guide.

The impact of #Edchat

According to The Journal, an online publication focused on transforming education through technology, #Edchat is the grandfather of all education-related chats and was chosen as one of the 13 best Twitter chats that every educator should check out. Many educational leaders and practitioners from around the country have shared how #Edchat is affecting the community and allowing educators to ask questions and get authentic answers.

For Brent Catlett, fellow #EdChat participant and director of technology for the Independence School District in Missouri, being part of #Edchat really provides educators like him with the best professional development. He says that participating in #Edchat has changed how he operates as a professional educator. “Being part of these online communities really flattens the globe for people. Indeed, they have replaced Google search for me,” says Catlett. “Thanks to resources like #Edchat, I now have connections and experts from all over the world that I can easily contact for help or inspiration.”

In addition to recognizing the professional development and networking opportunities available through #Edchat, educators are very enthusiastic about the transformational impact that such online communities are having on education globally.

Jon Corippo (@jcorippo), an Apple Distinguished Educator who travels around the world training teachers and educational leaders, believes that participating in #Edchat really raises the bar of what is possible in teaching culture, educational technology and the entire zeitgeist of what is happening in classrooms worldwide.

“You can’t watch or lurk on #Edchat streams without being impacted dramatically. There are now teachers in Michigan hanging out with teachers in Illinois and California. This was completely impossible 10 years ago as they would have worked in isolation their entire careers,” says Corippo.

#Edchat can also help educators develop their PLNs — Personal Learning Networks.

A PLN is a community of people with common professional interests, goals and needs. PLNs were once restricted to large conference gatherings in hotels. Now, they are being created and expanded daily around the world through the advent of social media, Twitter and especially in communities like #Edchat.

Corippo explains, “The great thing about participating in #Edchat is that most people say, ‘Yes and…’ This really leads to a center of gravity around great ideas. One tweet can generate a hundred people saying, ‘That’s cool, but we could…’ It’s all about the upgrades.” And #Edchat provides teachers with the tool to have an even bigger conversation that reaches people on the other side of the world.

Ways to use #Edchat

So, how can teachers, parents, administrators and others use #Edchat as a resource? Tom Whitby (@tomwhitby), one of #Edchat’s founding fathers, has compiled the following list of ways for everyone to use #Edchat:

  • Develop your Personal Learning Network (PLN) by engaging in conversations with other educators
  • Gather research for an article, blog or presentation
  • Collaborate with others in solving an issue at your school
  • Exchange ideas to improve an upcoming lesson plan
  • Receive constructive criticism on a lesson plan, presentation or idea
  • Share tips and advice for educational endeavors, such as holding a parent education workshop
  • Show teachers new to Twitter how useful Twitter can be in hosting thought-provoking conversations
  • Scan the discussion topics to decide which topics educators are interested in for your blog
  • Poll educators to gather research for your blog post or articles

Indeed, this 5-year-old online collaborative community has spawned a host of resources including Edchat Radio, The Educator’s PLN and UKEdChat. There are even #Edchat spinoffs such as the popular one in California known as #caedchat, which takes place every Sunday night at 8 p.m. PST.

What’s your experience with #Edchat? Leave your comments below and stay tuned for the results of our #Edchat survey.